May 03, 2011
A recent UN report says that combining ecology and agronomy can help smallholder farmers to increase food production. Jill Richardson examines the implications.
“We won’t solve hunger and stop climate change with industrial farming on large plantations.”
With food prices at an all time high, the number of people going hungry in the world may once again rise above one billion. For many years now, world leaders and international institutions like the United Nations and the World Bank have grappled with how to increase food production to feed a growing population while simultaneously mitigating climate change and confronting a shortage of resources like oil, water and topsoil.
Now a recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, has said that the approach known as agroecology has the potential to double food production in key areas within 10 years, while simultaneously providing rural livelihoods, sequestering carbon and building in resilience to climate extremes.
“To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming techniques available. And today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilisers in boosting food production in regions where the hungry live,” said de Schutter. He added, “We won’t solve hunger and stop climate change with industrial farming on large plantations.” The majority of the world’s hungry are smallholder farmers. The evidence shows that, using agroecology, these farmers can increase their food production to provide for their families.
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